Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ballet Basics

Hm, field trip to see the ballet of "Cinderella" today. Nice sets and costumes, adequate dancing, and...

A lady with serious Locust Valley Lockjaw who felt it necessary to explain the plot of Cinderella to a bunch of early elementary children. Um. Anyone not know this story? Oh good, so let's dispense with the synopsis - especially the unfortunate use of the phrase "gossamer wings", 'cause very few 4-7 year olds understand it.

What they DID understand was that this is the story of Cinderella without any words. On with the show. Children are not as stupid as some people think they are.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Dusty

Ah, the day we come back from Spring Break.

The weather is warm (some days it's really warm....89 degree high anyone?), the days are getting longer, and the countdown to the end of the year begins (before Spring Break the numbers are too depressing). The kids are more relaxed than they were when we left, and so are the teachers. Also some of us are in a kind of chocolate covered matzoh-induced trance. Cough. And, well, let's face it, chocolate Easter bunnies too. We're very ecumenical here at The Down Staircase.

This year, though, was unusual. The day before the break, Miss Clara was informed that her ENTIRE CLASSROOM had to be stripped bare. All bulletin boards taken down, all materials removed from the shelves. Every. Single. Thing. The art teacher very kindly offered to store this load of stuff in her office over the holiday. The fifth grade teachers kindly - nay eagerly - sent some Spring Fever Crazy students out of their classrooms to help tote.

Why, you ask? Well, the good news is: because my classroom got a new tile floor. And before I proceed to kvetch, may I say it is an absolutely GORGEOUS floor. It's swimming pool blue. Not necessarily something I would install in my living room (although a Kindergartener once told me, "I like your house," whilst gazing at the class artwork), but just right for an early childhood classroom. And uh, truth be told, I might (who are we kidding, definitely would) install it in my kitchen. Cheery blue! Pretty yellow! How chic, how French!

But I digress.

So when I got back this morning, I walked in to my room and kinda screamed and clutched at my chest. The furniture had all been moved out. The asbestos abatement team had abated (welcome to 2010!). The tile guys had laid the new floor....and left a shroud of tile dust over every. single. surface. Bookshelves, sink area, windowsills...not to mention all the furniture had been moved back the middle of the room. It looked like my classroom looks in August when I return from summer vacation and the wonderful custodians have waxed my floor. Except way dirtier.

Now, at least two of the four people who read this blog know that I am, shall we say, slightly OCD-ish about my classroom's cleanliness and order. There was not a rat's chance in hell that I was going to simply put everything back on the dust-laden shelves. No, this called for the Green Scrubbie of Doom and the Windex. And while we were at it, the tile men had disconnected all the computers and pulled the tables out from the wall...perfect opportunity to scrub the grime off the tables and Windex all the filthy cords and cables! And boy howdy were they FILTHY. Like Times Square in the 70's filthy. Legendary filth.

And hey! since they had taken every single piece of flotsam and jetsam out of the room (if you are a teacher you will know the sinking feeling feeling when you walk into a classroom that's new to you but not to the other nine packrats teachers...who had it before you) and then piled it back in the middle, today was the perfect opportunity to THROW OUT THE JUNK!

Once small glitch. There were 25 seven year olds who needed to learn something. Oh yeah. Oops.

So we sorta had um, an "easy" day back. We wrote in our journals about vacation, we read our independent reading books, we did a few desultory pages of math, we stared out the window at the bright sunshine and butterflies. Well - THEY did. Miss Clara cleaned like a maniac and made a pile roughly the size of Mount Rushmore in the hallway. And apologized profusely to the custodian who was going to have to throw it all out. But seriously. A set of encyclopedias from 1973? Why? Materials from teachers who retired ten years ago? Good bye! Old textbooks with pictures of Ronald Reagan as "our current President" covered in mouse droppings (the books, not Ronald Reagan)? Good riddance (the books and Ronald Reagan).

So now I just have to figure out when I will put BACK all the bulletin boards and teaching charts. I guess everyone's just going to have to be patient for a few days.

I hate being patient.